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New local homeless solutions come from Bay area conference of county Supervisors

Homeless site
John Palminteri

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A San Francisco meeting of county supervisors from throughout California brought out solutions to homelessness that may be used in Santa Barbara County.

They include specialized street outreach, housing options and renewed family connections.

Santa Barbara County Supervisors Das Williams and Steve Lavagnino attended the meeting.

One of the sessions involved seeing Union Square outreach workers dealing with the homeless. Williams says developing a trust is important and also assisting those in need to take some of the basic first steps including taking their medications regularly.

"We do see from history  the  housing first model works,"said Williams. He says street outreach workers, start with relationships then get to 'let's help you take your meds' and l'et's help you get connected with temporary shelter in inclement weather' and then if we can get our act together permanent housing."

San Francisco leaders said 46% who leave a one of their temporary facilities with specialists go into permanent housing.

One mystery about the homeless population is how many are local homeless and how many are the traveling homeless. A "point in time" count in January should help with some of the most current numbers.

As for fresh solutions?   Reuniting families with a homeless member through a group called Miracle Makers.  It's used in the Bay area.

"What these people  do is record stories of some of the homeless individuals and try to reunite them with their families," said Williams.

Williams says more government funding is coming from the state and federal levels but it's not always a perfect fit.

"One of the strings that is difficult for local government to manage is the absolute sobriety requirement  because they are trying to get a large number of folks housing ready including people that aren't ready to be 100 percent sober, " said Williams.

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John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT News Channel 3-12. To learn more about John, click here.


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